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Introduction is a collection of React components and hooks for the Google Maps JavaScript API. It was first provisioned by the Google Maps Platform team, in order to provide solid integrations between React and the Maps JavaScript API inspired by the integration between react-map-gl and the map renderers based on mapbox-gl-js.

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Design Philosophy

The Google Maps JavaScript API follows an imperative programming model. That is, you instruct the map to do something, and it will execute the command at its own pace. The map also maintains a lot of its own state-information and logic for updating it. For example, the virtual camera and the various ways to control it are fully contained within the Maps API, including all event-listeners that allow users to interact with the map.

While this is typically what you'd expect from a map renderer, it also comes with some problems in the context of a React application. We often need a full synchronization of the map-state with the state of the application and other components. Some examples:

  • Two maps are rendered side by side, and user interactions in one of them should update both maps.
  • Other components and UI elements outside the map might need updating based on the region currently visible, or they might trigger changes of the region shown by the map.
  • Integrations with overlays for data-visualization on top of the map, most notably using

In all of these cases, the application must have a shared state managed by React to be able to synchronize the components correctly. This is referred to as having a single source of truth. That could be stored in a parent component state, a Redux store, or react-hooks, and let it propagate down to the map and any other component.

Ultimately, in the spirit of the reactive programming paradigm used in React, data from this single source of truth should always flow down the component hierarchy. If components manage their own state, as Google Maps is designed to do, we risk the components going out of sync. provides a reactive wrapper for the Google Maps JavaScript API while still leaving the map instance in charge of state updates. In most cases, this is desirable, as controlling a map from mouse, pointer and touch events is a complicated problem in itself which is solved particularly well by the Maps JavaScript API.

This means that usually, the props specified for the camera are read as initial values, and users will be able to interact with the map without requiring the props to be updated. So by default, the map is allowed to deviate from the specified values.

However, the Map component can also be used as a fully controlled component. That is, the map's camera will never deviate from the props that have been assigned. In this mode, the controls provided by the map can still be used by listening for the appropriate events and updating the state accordingly.